During the last two years, remote working has been the new normal for most software and tech companies.
Most of them have to adjust and sometimes even entirely change their working concepts.
For one company, though, the new normal of remote work has been a reality for more than six years now.
Founded in 2016, Scaleflex is a B2B SaaS company that develops solutions that help content managers, marketers, and R&D teams to manage and deliver media assets, such as images, videos, and any kind of visual content. The solutions also allow them to collaborate in real-time.
According to Emil Novakov, one of the co-founders of Scaleflex, who is from Bulgaria, no one believed that the fully remote concept would work at the time when they started the company.
“Scaleflex has been an international remote company since its inception in 2016, long ago companies were forced to embrace a flexible workplace. When we co-founded Scaleflex with my co-founder Julian, many people said that a fully remote company would not work out. Still, we proved the opposite,” he explains.
Now, when the COVID-19 pandemic is also driving customers and companies further apart, one of Scaleflex’s main objectives is the opposite. Novakov points out that it aims to bring businesses closer to their clients.
So how does the company do this? Well, the answer is actually in its name. Scaleflex loves building scalable solutions, capable of managing millions of new media assets each month. And it does it in a flexible way, which doesn’t bind its customers to a specific architecture, software stack, or infrastructure provider.
“Today, we are providing Digital Asset Management and Media Optimization SaaS solutions to solve the ever-growing challenges of managing media assets, team collaboration, digital experience creation, page loading times, and SEO. Our DNA lies in building global, scalable, and flexible SaaS solutions with a lego-like and easy-to-implement architecture,” Novakov says.
A strong work culture that spans 13 countries
Based in France, Scaleflex’s team consists of 50 passionate members from 12 nationalities across 13 countries. More than 500 customers worldwide have adopted the Scaleflex value proposition. The company’s strong work culture, based on pillars such as passion, commitment, and freedom, keeps the team intact and motivated.
“Our values and culture play an important role in our hiring philosophy. We seek talented people who are passionate about what they do, committed to the team, our common success, and are ready to take on great challenges. Our hiring motto is “Don’t hire CVs, hire personalities,” Novakov points out.
The company’s employees enjoy complete freedom to take initiatives, choose which technologies to use, and look for ways to innovate. It also fosters innovation, provides room for experimenting, and rewards change-makers. Employees are also encouraged to learn, upgrade their skills and develop themselves.
“Each employee is free to propose their goals and objectives. This helps them feel empowered and included in critical decision-making processes and business growth strategies. At the same time, our management team reviews regular status reports with each team and makes themselves available for trouble-shooting and brainstorming,” Novakov points out.
Scaleflex also has an exciting and unique approach to new hires. During the hiring process, the company includes the potential employee in its communication channels, where they can work on the proposed task together. In that way, the company evaluates how the candidate would fit in the system. At the same time, the candidate can also see how the work system suits him in the process.
Rewarding achievement and stimulating decision-making
Scaleflex also strives to recognize all of its employees for their contribution and to reward them in the process.
“We would not achieve our success without our team members. We have various ways to reward our employees’ performance, from acknowledgment to bonus programs, as well as stock options for key employees,” Novakov says.
Additionally, working together instead of imposing solutions from the top down is one of the several strengths that Scaleflex has developed over the years.
“Whenever a team member comes to me with an issue, I do not impose my thinking but rather ask them what they would do in that situation. It has been allowing everyone to identify pros and cons and possible solutions and make educated and informed decisions independently. This level of empowerment makes them feel they contributed to the success of Scaleflex,” Novakov explains.
Scaleflex also organizes various team building and offsite activities in interesting and exciting locations such as Bulgaria and Vietnam to keep the team motivated and engaged. One of the company’s traits is that it also helps those employees who want to move from one country to another, fostering employee mobility.
Plans for the future and attracting new talent
While Scaleflex currently has 50 employees, its plans for the next two to three years include increasing this number up to 500. For Novakov, this ambition also illustrates the company’s main goal: multiply its annual recurring revenue by 10 in the next 3 years.
“To reach our ambitious goals in the next three years, we will have to invest massively in hiring passionate people across all teams and open new markets with a local presence, such as the US later in 2022. What wakes us up every morning is the strong will to build one of the first Bulgarian unicorns,” Novakov highlights.
Therefore, attracting new talent is imperative for the company in the upcoming period.
“We are looking for various IT talents to take on challenges related to databases since we regularly process multi-billions of lines of logs; machine learning to develop AI-powered solutions, such as image compression, face recognition, smart tagging, etc.; and network to filter incoming traffic and control the quality of what we deliver,” Novakov says.
At the same time, Scaleflex will continue to strengthen its R&D team as it is the core of its business and expand its sales and marketing teams and grow the brand.
Building an engaged community and encouraging future entrepreneurs
One of the long-term goals for the company is also to help create a community that will be focused on technical content delivered in video format.
To achieve that, Scaleflex also hosts free webinars and academies that provide good scalable content on image optimization. In turn, this also helps beginners avoid the common mistakes when starting out.
When it comes to encouraging future entrepreneurs in Bulgaria and abroad, Novakov draws experience from his personal journey.
Novakov left Bulgaria at a very young age. Having lived in countries such as the US, UK, Germany, and France, he returned to his home country 30 years later, full of experience and excitement. Last month, Novakov also made a first exit, selling his other company, enterprise mobility management consultancy Mobinergy to global IT solution giant Unisys.
“It is a dream come true to be able to create jobs in Bulgaria and to be able to bring my life experience and perspective to people who jump on our train in my home country while sharing all of the knowledge I got abroad,” Novakov emphasizes.
Having established a successful company as Scaleflex, Novakov also has several pieces of advice for young and upcoming talented Bulgarian entrepreneurs.
“First, work on solving a problem you are passionate about. Second, don’t listen to the haters, who are usually just jealous of what you are trying to achieve. And third, always set high expectations for yourself and strive to exceed them,” Novakov concludes.